The Great Galaxy (M31) in AndromedaM31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

The Night Sky

is filled with millions of visual treasures and delights. For centuries, astronomers have gazed at the heavens and marveled in wonder at the stars, planets and faint fuzzies they found. In the last few decades, science has brought us unbelievable close-up images of distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. To a certain extent, perhaps this has spoiled the astronomer as the views through our telescopes often pale in comparison to the views provided by Hubble. However, many astronomers are gripped with the notion that the photons they are collecting and observing have travelled unimaginable distances to reach their eyes. Seeing the spiral arms of a galaxy or the tight knot of a globular cluster many thousands of light years away sparks the imagination.

My name is Rick Towns and I'm an amateur astronomer living in Canada. My telescope is an 8" f/10 Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (SCT) which I use both visually and photographically (Canon M50). The design of this telescope provides good light gathering power with a maximum field of view of about 1°. This is adequate for viewing the vast majority of objects in the night sky. Using my telescope got me thinking about presenting images on the web of what I actually see. So my long term goal is to populate this website with my own astro photos of deep-sky objects. In the meantime, I am using images from the STScI Digitized Sky Survey to generate the gallery and I've used GIMP to tweak the image presentation. Over time, I'll replace these images with ones that I take with my own equipment.

These galleries are of objects that I've looked at through my telescope.The images are all shown in a 1° wide setting, so that the apparent size and scale of these objects can truly be appreciated. Of much interest is the Globular Cluster gallery which will allow you to directly compare the great clusters of the sky such as Omega Centauri, 47 Tucanae, Hercules and Sagittarius. How much real difference is there between these clusters? As you will see, quite a lot! The images in these galleries are not the knock your socks off images that the Hubble Space Telescope provides - these images are much more representative of what an astronomer sees through the eyepiece. Enjoy!